1862: George Scarborough Barnsley to Godfrey Barnsley

George_s_barnsley_largeThis letter was written by George Scarborough Barnsley (1837-1918) of Woodlands Plantation, Cass County, Georgia. He was the son of Godfrey Barnsley (1805-1873), a cotton exporter of Savannah and New Orleans, and Julia Scarborough (1810-1845). He was educated at Oglethorpe University at Midway, Georgia, from 1854 through 1857.

During the Civil War, George and his brother Lucien served the Confederacy as privates in Co. A (Rome Light Guard) of the 8th Georgia Regiment. In late 1862, they “appealed to their father to use his influence to get them promoted: ‘Neither fear the fighting, but dread the almost sure death from disease,’ if they returned to the ranks. George applied to be a hospital steward and decided to study medicine and chemistry, then become an assistant surgeon..” [source: A Confluence of Transatlantic Networks…. by Laura Jarnagin, page 195]

After the war, in 1866, George emigrated with Lucien to Brazil as part of a group under the leadership of Frank McMullen. Except for the period 1890-1896, when he returned to the United States, he remained in Brazil, where he practiced medicine, for the rest of his life. He married Mary Lamira Emerson in 1869.

George Barnsley had five brothers and sisters who survived infancy. Anna Goodwin Barnsley (b. 1829) married Thomas Corse Gilmour of the Isle of Man, England, in New Orleans in 1850. Gilmour died in England in 1865. The Gilmours had two children, Murray Barnsley (b. 1850) and Julia Eliza (b. 1852). Harold Barnsley (1832-1862) was an adventurer who died in Shanghai in 1862. Adelaide Barnsley (1834-1858) married John Kelso Reid of Ireland in New Orleans in 1857, and had one child, Godfrey Forrest Reid (b. 1858). Julia Bernard Barnsley (b. 1836) married James Peter Baltzell (d. 1868) in 1864. The Baltzells had one child, Adelaide (1864-1942). In 1872 Julia Barnsley married a second time, to Charles H. Von Schwartz (d. 1885). Lucien Barnsley (1840-1892) married Martha H. Grady in Brazil in 1871.

The remains of Woodlands Plantation House — home of Godfrey Barnsley


Lynchburg, Virginia
October 10th 1862

Dear Father,

Your letter of the 5th inst. enclosing one from Julia, and three dollars on Bank of Yanceyville, N. Ca., was received this morning and I haste to reply as Lucien and I made an agreement to send all letters received from home by either party to each other as speedily as possible after the receipt.

I am truly glad to learn that Moses has been behaving better and trust that you may not have any more trouble with him.

I am also happy to hear that the tobacco is sold and at such a good price. If you think it advisable, I will be much obliged if you will invest the proceeds of the sale of the tobacco in some good interest-bearing stock, or in C. S. ____.

If I am not mistaken, Mr. Mathis can be exempted from the conscription under the head of allowing a certain number of men on plantations as overseers. I think you ought to try to keep him with you for this winter will prove a great trial to your impaired health without him.

There is nothing new. We have not yet heard who have been appointed to fill the places of the Asst. Surgeons General &c. but a few days must certainly determine and you will be advised if it affects us in any way. It certainly will in some way. Dr. Williams is now with us and we are kept quite busy. We are becoming quite settled and comfortable. There are some few cases of small pox in the hospital at this place but very strong measures have been taken to prevent its spread. I do not apprehend any trouble from it.

The weather until today has been most parching. It appears as if we were on the eve of a long rainy spell. Much uneasiness is expressed in regard to our recent repulse at Corinth. Nothing new from Gen. Lee. It will not be long, however, before we have exciting times. It is said and I presume it is true that some 6,000 Yankees are close to Culpepper Court House. We have very few men about the Rapidan. No alarm exists, I believe, from the fear that the Yankees can do much harm from Culpepper.

Lucian_s_barnsley_largeI wrote you a few days since quite a long letter and as I am pressed for time now, I must close. I am very much obliged for the three dollars — it was a godsend, as I was just out of money having been forced to advance heavily on mess account from the unsettled way of our present life. But now we will do much better in the way of living &c. as today we have made some new arrangements. I am not in want of money. I will draw my pay in three weeks. I hoped to lay by a few dollars for Christmas but it is impossible to do so. I meant to have spoken of the matter before this but among the whirl of other business, I forgot it. Lucien and I intend to get furloughs to pay a short visit home sometime about Xmas if we can get them — of which I have little doubt. I can only be away from my post a short time. Lucien can remain longer. I will write you again about the matter.

I am your affectionate son, — Geo. S. Barnsley

Enclosed please find letter to Julia. Would you like me to send you the Lynchburg Republican when anything interesting is in it? I get daily.


Griff View All →

My passion is studying American history leading up to & including the Civil War. I particularly enjoy reading, transcribing & researching primary sources such as letters and diaries.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Spared & Shared 21

Saving history one letter at a time.

Spared & Shared 20

Saving history one letter at a time

Notes on Western Scenery, Manners, &c.

by Washington Marlatt, 1848

Spared & Shared 19

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Recollections of Army Life

by Charles A. Frey

The Civil War Letters of William Kennedy

Co. B, 91st New York Infantry

The Glorious Dead

Letters from the 23rd Illinois Infantry, the 111th Pennsylvania Infantry, the 64th New York Infantry, and the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Cornelius Van Houten

1st New Jersey Light Artillery

Letters of Charley Howe

36th Massachusetts Volunteers

Sgt. Major Fayette Lacey

Co. B, 37th Illinois Volunteers

"These few lines"

the pocket memorandum of Alexander C. Taggart

The Civil War Letters of Will Dunn

Co. F, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers

Henry McGrath Cannon

Co. A, 124th New York Infantry & Co. B, 16th New York Cavalry

Civil War Letters of Frederick Warren Holmes

Co. H, 77th Illinois Volunteers

"Though distant lands between us be"

Civil War Letters of Monroe McCollister, Co. B, 6th OVC

"Tell her to keep good heart"

Civil War Letters of Nelson Statler, 211th PA

Building Bluemont

The Origin of Bluemont Central College

"May Heaven Protect You"

14th Connecticut drummer boy's war-time correspondence with his mother

Moreau Forrest

Lt. Commander in the US Navy during the Civil War

Diary of the 29th Massachusetts Infantry

Fighting with the Irish Brigade during the Peninsula Campaign

"Till this unholy rebellion is crushed"

Letters of Dory & Morty Longwood, 7th Indiana

"I Go With Good Courage"

The Civil War Letters of Henry Clay Long, 11th Maine Infantry

"This is a dreadful war"

The Civil War Letters of Jacob Bauer, 16th Connecticut, & his wife Emily

Spared & Shared 16

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Lloyd Willis Manning Letters

3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Co. I

The Yankee Volunteer

A Virtual Archive of Civil War Likenesses collected by Dave Morin

William Henry Jordan

Co. K, 7th Rhode Island Infantry

No Cause to Blush

The Bancroft Collection of Civil War Letters

William A. Bartlett Civil War Letters

Company D, 37th Massachusetts Infantry

The John Hughes Collection

A Virtual Archive of his Letters, 1858-1869

The Civil War Letters of Rufus P. Staniels

Co. H, 13th New Hampshire Volunteers

This is Indeed A Singular War

The Civil War Letters of Henry Scott Murray, 8th New York Light Artillery

%d bloggers like this: